Unwed, pregnant — and fired

The NYCLU takes up the case of an unmarried preschool teacher who was fired for being pregnant.

Topics: Broadsheet, Pregnancy, Love and Sex,

Newsday reports today on a 26-year-old teacher at a Catholic preschool who was fired last month for being unwed and pregnant. Now, the New York Civil Liberties Union has taken up her case, and filed a complaint against both the school and the Diocese of Brooklyn.

“This is a difficult situation for every person involved, but the school had no choice but to follow the principles contained in the teachers’ personnel handbook,” diocese spokesman Frank DeRosa said in a statement. Newsday notes that the handbook says that each teacher must “convey the teachings of the Catholic faith by his or her words and actions.”

But lawyers at the NYCLU — which argued a similar suit in Buffalo in 2003 and won — argued that administrators enforced the policy in a way that disproportionately affects women.

“The school used her pregnancy as a marker,” attorney Cassandra Stubbs told Newsday. “How do they determine if male employees engage in premarital sex?”

Our thoughts exactly.

Hillary Frey is the Books editor at Salon.

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